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Aladdin 2 - What We Know So Far

Disney's 2019 live-action remake Aladdin may have divided critics, but as far as fans were concerned, it was a home run. The movie was directed with uncharacteristic restraint by Guy Ritchie, who worked from a sharp screenplay by veteran scribe John August; it was sumptuously shot, with a vibrant color palette which serviced its great musical numbers and dazzling special effects. Even taking all of this into consideration, though, Aladdin was a film that would live and die by its cast — and what a cast it was.

Mena Massoud was an absolute revelation in the title role, thieving and singing his way into our hearts every bit as effectively as his animated counterpart from the 1992 original Aladdin; Naomi Scott gave us a suitably gorgeous and headstrong Princess Jasmine, and Will Smith brought his own unique energy to the role of the Genie, capturing the goofy-yet-dignified essence of the character without simply channeling Robin Williams' manic performance from the animated version. Plus, the film had a secret weapon (in our humble opinion, anyway) in Marwan Kenzari's Jafar, who simply exuded coiled-up rage and menace.

Aladdin grossed over a billion dollars globally, so it wasn't too terribly surprising when it was officially announced in February 2020 that a sequel was in the works. Where will Aladdin 2 take our hero, his new bride, and the recently freed Genie, and when can we expect to see it in theaters? Here's everything we know so far, and if you're as excited about the flick as we are, you may want to bookmark this page — we'll be updating it with all the news fit to report as soon as it becomes available.

What is Aladdin 2's release date?

Since Aladdin 2 is early in its development, the project does not yet have an official release date. However, we can make an educated guess as to when the film might land in theaters by taking a look at Aladdin's road to the big screen.

Disney announced that the movie was in production in October 2016 (via Deadline); at that time, the screenplay was already complete, and Ritchie had been hired to direct. It would be just over two and a half years from this point before Aladdin landed in theaters, and we're thinking that the time between Aladdin 2's announcement and its release will be pretty close to that time frame, for a couple of reasons.

First, even though the sequel doesn't have a script or director locked in (not officially, anyway), the picture entered development well before the announcement was made. Back in August 2019, Dan Lin — a producer on the first film — told Syfy Wire that Disney brass were actively kicking around ideas for the sequel. "We're looking at '[what's] the best way to go with these characters," Lin said at that time. "The audience response has really touched us in thinking about where we can go with these stories, and we feel like these characters have more adventures in store."

As it turned out, the suits at the House of Mouse spent the next several months hearing pitches from several writing teams before settling on one that they liked, which we'll get to shortly. To our second point, though: Aladdin's script may have been locked and loaded in 2016, but it was casting the film that gave producers headaches, and that shouldn't present much of a problem this time around.

Who will be in the cast of Aladdin 2?

As late as July 2017, it was being reported that Disney was struggling to cast Aladdin; as it turned out, finding a dude who looked the part and who could also act, sing, and dance was a bit of a tall order. Fortunately, the studio found its "diamond in the rough" in Massoud, and ol' Mickey would have to be nuts not to pursue him for the sequel. Availability shouldn't be an issue; the talented young actor has gone public about his struggle to land auditions in the wake of Aladdin's success, although he has landed a lead role on the Hulu neo-noir series Reprisal (via The Daily Beast). 

Per Variety, Disney will begin corralling its cast once Aladdin 2's script is complete — but the Mouse House has its sights set on Massoud, Scott, and Smith to reprise their roles. Oddly, no mention was made of Kenzari, whom we would love to see return; Disney fans will surely remember that the animated Aladdin's direct-to-video sequel was subtitled The Return of Jafar, and while the live-action Aladdin 2 won't simply be a remake of that film or the three-quel Aladdin and the King of Thieves, it's not outside the realm of possibility that it could contain plot elements of either or both.

What will be the plot of Aladdin 2?

It's more likely, though, that Aladdin 2 will be a completely original story, although we don't yet have an inkling as to what that story will be. As we mentioned before, Disney listened to pitches from a bevy of writers before settling on the idea offered up by John Gatins and Andrea Berloff, a pair of Oscar-nominated screenwriters who will be collaborating for the first time.

Berloff first made a splash with her screenplay for 2006's World Trade Center; most recently, she wrote the crime drama The Kitchen, which also marked her directorial debut. She scored her Oscar nod for writing Straight Outta Compton, the 2015 biopic centered on the legendary rap group N.W.A. Incidentally, Berloff is also the latest writer to tackle The Legend of Conan, the long-gestating sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1982 classic Conan the Barbarian and its 1984 follow-up Conan the Destroyer

Gatins has written or contributed to a slew of genre flicks such as Real Steel, the video game adaptation Need for Speed, and Kong: Skull Island. He's also shown a deft touch with material based on or inspired by true stories, having penned the 2005 biopic Coach Carter and the 2012 drama Flight, for which he received his Oscar nod.

We'll have to wait to see what kind of story the two scribes are cooking up for us, but we feel the need to point out that just because Aladdin 2 won't adapt The Return of Jafar doesn't mean that Jafar can't return; we really want to see more of Kenzari's take on the villain. Keep it here for breaking news, because we'll have our finger on the pulse of Aladdin 2 throughout its production.